Braxton Miller’s Heisman Campaign Picking Up Speed
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer may have to keep Braxton Miller on the bench Saturday against Indiana if he really wants to slow down his sophomore quarterback’s Heisman Trophy campaign.
Photo by Jim Davidson
After rushing for 186 yards and passing for 127 more, Miller moved up to No. 2 on the USA TODAY Sports Media Group Heisman survey on Tuesday, just behind the clear-cut favorite, and ahead of guys like De’Anthony Thomas, Marcus Lattimore, Tajh Boyd and Matt Barkley.
“I usually don't even speak of it when I've been asked the question until after the season,” Meyer said Monday when he was asked about the growing buzz surrounding Miller’s Heisman chances.
“I've been lucky to have four Heisman candidates – Josh Harris at Bowling Green, Alex (Smith), and the left handed kid down there for three or four years, three years. It's an honor to be mentioned. I've been to that thing and it's incredible for these kids.”
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is the name on everyone’s lips right now for the 2012 Heisman Trophy. He isn’t much of a runner, but Smith has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in just five games this season, which was good enough to earn him all 35 first-place votes in the USA Today survey.
Smith has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards in victories over Baylor and Texas the last two weeks, and he seems to be running away with the award at the moment. In the end, Miller is probably going to be hurt by the fact Ohio State cannot play in a bowl game, but not everyone believes that should factor in to the Heisman Trophy conversation.
“If he is the best player in college football, he should be recognized as such,” says Scott Ferrell of the Shreveport (La.) Times.
“Besides, he wasn't what got Ohio State on probation.”
Neither was Urban Meyer, who has coached this team to as many wins (6) half way through the season as the Buckeyes had all of last year. His quarterback is on pace to break a number of Ohio State’s single-season records for a quarterback, but Meyer believes it’s too early to start projecting what his numbers will look like after another six games.
“I don't think Braxton's a Heisman candidate right now,” Meyer said Monday.
“I think he's certainly fun to watch. He's got the ability. But then again, I don't know who is. We're only halfway through the season. In about two or three games I think you can start talking about that.”
After six games, Miller is on pace to throw for over 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He has thrown only three interceptions and has a quarterback rating for 145.0. His best work has been done on the ground, where he’s on pace to rush for 1,526 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore.
“I'm not talking to Braxton about it,” Meyer added.
“We're trying to win some games, so... I think at the right time, he will be a candidate if he continues to play very well.”
Moment of Weakness
Photo by Jim Davidson
While one of Meyer’s quarterbacks was making headlines for the right reasons, another was in the news for some questionable decision-making last week. Freshman quarterback Cardale Jones took to Twitter to vent some of his frustrations about having to attend class when he would rather be focusing on football.
“Yeah, we're getting ready to play a big time game in a great stadium and I get a bunch of text messages and phone calls about did you hear,” Meyer said shaking his head.
“So we suspended him immediately for the game.”
Jones, who is the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart behind Miller and Kenny Guiton, did not dress for the Nebraska game Saturday night after posting on his personal Twitter account that going to class was pointless for student-athletes.
“Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain't come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS,” he wrote.
That did not sit well with his new head coach, but it certainly wasn’t enough to land him more than a one-game suspension.
“Very ignorant comment, but that's a 19 year old making an ignorant comment, which makes him 1 of 460 million,” Meyer said Monday.
“So we're moving on. I've moved on already. We've had a good chat. He's very apologetic. He does go to class, in case people want to check, and he's actually a hell of a kid, a heck of a kid, excuse me. It kind of surprised me.”
In other words, it was an 18 or 19 year old kid who had a moment of weakness or lapse of judgment in a modern world where every fleeting thought or feeling can be expressed publically.
“Yeah. I've been there,” Meyer said of Jones being frazzled.
“Have you been there? Yeah, probably be there again. Probably be there again.”
Meyer is certainly hoping Jones won’t be there again after sitting out one of the biggest games of the year for an ignorant comment on the Internet.
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